Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Blue Passage

Embarking on an overnight sailing passage is not my favorite part of sailing, especially if it's only for one or two nights. It is just enough to time disrupt my sleep and definitely not long enough to get into a good watch and sleep rhythm. Our latest passage was two nights, leaving in the late afternoon from Tahiti,  and arriving two days later in Fakarava, approximately 250 nautical miles. We had been watching the weather carefully in the days preceding our passage as there were some potentially scary winds that we wanted to avoid.

We made our preparations, shopped for groceries for a potential 6 weeks stay in the remote atoll, filled up our fuel tanks and headed off from the Society Islands to the Tuamotus. 

There were some very impressive clouds forming behind us as the sun was setting.

This is a watercolor I painted attempting to capture the feeling of the clouds.

The squalls threatened us most of the night, but they never quite found us, passing  behind us and to the side of us.

The next morning there was a gentle breeze and fairly flat seas, absolutely wonderful sailing weather. The wind was behind us which allowed Rhapsody to sail much flatter, instead of being heeled over to one side or the other. This allowed me time and energy to exercise and get some boat chores done, neither of which are typical on a passage.

Looking out across the water I was struck by the color of blue. It was an incredible translucent lapis in color. This video almost captures it, but the depth and quality of the translucence all around us cannot be digitally conveyed.

This passage rates as one of my top short passages. It was so easy, so smooth and so blue. Usually arriving at a destination after a passage it takes a day or two to recover. After one particularly memorable passage a fellow cruiser described us as looking like "hell warmed over". Not this passage, we arrived and were ready to go, ready to start exploring the atoll and all the beauty that it has to offer.  

Note: This was an unusual passage from Tahiti to the Tuamotus. Typically the winds blow from east to west. The passage from Tahiti is a west to east passage, meaning the boat is going into the wind making a slower and bumper ride.  This time, because of the squalls and systems we were trying to avoid, the winds were blowing west to east,  pushing us nicely and smoothly to our destination. 

The waters inside the atoll are calmer and a slightly lighter blue, reflecting the sandy bottom with a rich turquoise hue, lighter or darker,  depending on the depth.

One of the best parts of this atoll, and the end of this passage, was that we had our friends Andrew and Lianne on Waveriders waiting for us upon arrival.

It's always nice to share the experience with others.

Next up: Diving the Wall of Sharks!

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